071 We Reserve The Right To Refuse Service
Thanks for pressing play. Hi, this is Christopher and on today's episode I. Answer a Listener Question. When is it okay to turn customers away, and if by chance you have a marketing or category, designed question or life, question or anything else? You can send it to black hole all one word at LOCKHEAD DOT com. We're sponsored by our good friends at Oracle net, sweet checkout, net sweet dot com slash different today, and our friends at spunk are the leaders in data to everything visit, spunk dot com slash D to e now as Joey Ramone said Hey Ho. Let's go. This is lockhead on marketing the podcast that helps you develop a lens for what makes legendary marketing legendary posted by Christopher lockhead. Three Times CMO Godfather category design and a High School Dropout with a marketing journal calls one of the best minds in marketing, and the economist calls off putting to some. All Right? This email came in from a gal named. And she says dear Christopher. This is such a confusing time. People are on edge. There's a lot of arguing and mistrust in the US. It seems like we see more people acting out. And in our case, we've had some customers behaviorally badly. When is it okay to turn a customer away? All right well first of all. Let's talk about the law and Super Caveat Caveat Caveat. If you're a longtime listener, you know exactly how much time I spent in law school, which is zero so I am in no way a lawyer, however I am three-time public. Company C Ammo. And have served on a number of public boards, and at least know a little bit about this so I'm not giving legal advice. That's not what I'm doing. However, my understanding of the law is that you're allowed to refuse anybody service, but you can't do it. On the basis of things like color race gender, sexual orientation things along those lines, and the sort of conditions under which you refuse service need to be consistent. That is to say you can't refuse service to people for doing action than change your mind in for doing why and so forth and so on so. First thing you really need to do check with your lawyer to make sure you are one hundred percent in compliance That's why big companies have general counsels, and that's why little companies have employment and other kinds of lower so check with them, but my understanding of the law. Is that You can refuse service to anybody is long as you're not discriminating on something along the lines I just described, and again I am no lawyer and I don't even play one on the Internet. Now, here's what I'll tell you from personal point of view, and from been doing this for thirty four years point of view. I think it's Ok to refuse service to anybody who's being a shithead. And we had a situation happen here in the Santa Cruz. Monterey Bay area not long ago. There's a super ding-dong place in Carmel by the way if you haven't been to Carmel it's It's a stunningly beautiful place. And this super, and also, if you're new Ding Dong is a term of endearment for something that something or someone, that's very high end thing anyway. This place called the Bernardus. Bernard's lodge in Carmel and I've actually been there and it's a wonderful place. Well, it turns out on Fourth of July there was an Asian American family. They're celebrating a birthday. and. There was a tech CEO named Markle lofthouse sitting near them. And he decided to pop off on them with a bunch of horrible racist slurs If you Google it, you can see it and we'll have a link in the show notes to an article. About what happened, but the bottom line is this guy lost his mind and said a bunch of horrible things. And then something legendary eappen, an employee stepped in. A A server named Janika Cochran. said to him, he was saying these horrible things. It confronted him. And said quote, get out. You're not allowed here. You do not talk to our guests like that. They're valued. Guests get out and quote. And through this misbehaving tech, CEO out on his ass for being the racist should head that he was being. That to is a legendary story. In the reason that's a legendary story is it shows several things number one. That the folks at the WHO run Bernardus Lodge have some core values. And that in one way or another, whether it was formal or informal, they had communicated to their team. including of course Janika Cochran that there were certain behaviors they would tolerate and others that they wouldn't and racism and out and being an Asshole, clearly with something they were not going to allow and so. Jessica felt empowered to do that. I don't know if she asked for permission. I don't know what she did, but she took action, and to so that to me is indicative of a Janika being a good person and being the bernardus lodging. Carmel Creating an environment for their people centered on a set of core values so that in a moment of truth there people would feel empowered to do what they thought was right, and that's exactly what happened. Now in my life I've had a couple of situations like this pop up of late. My father in law is a farmer. and He. has a a small farm with fruit trees on it. And he's He's well into his eighties and and he sells his fruit a farm stan on the side of the orchard. And as you might expect the whole family chips in so taking care of the orchard, taking care of the FA farm stand is a family affair, an Italian family and the family chips in, and we are there on a regular basis helping papa out. And we have put up signs. We put up hand sanitizer. The signs say you know one person at a time in the stand and please wear a mask, and there's a pure l. squeezer thing right there so that everybody can be safe and everybody can be clean and cleanline- De, sanitized and the like. And interestingly enough as a side note. It seems like people love businesses like this, even more than ever Papa sales going through the roof right now in a way that is very very unusual, and yes, we're having a good fruit. Year it was a cold winter in California, and so that leads to good fruit, but that doesn't explain all of it I. Think part of what explains it is people are looking for. For things that are real and buying fresh fruit out of fruit, stand and not having go inside a restaurant. I, think is really appealing to people right now. Anyway, so that's one thing that's going on in our family and my wife and I were there recently, and this couple showed up, and they both started sort of entering the area of the Farm Stan. And that neither one of them had masks on. And so my wife said. Would you please put on a mask? Know the signs right fucking there right anyway. They start getting Lippi about really. Do we have to do that? And she says yeah, we have to do that. And they say why. And she says well. There's a global pandemic on, and we need you to wear a mask. And by the way my parents are in their eighties and we're not. They're not getting sick and so where a mask. And then the woman says well I. Don't see your parents around. What why does it matter? And I step in. Say listen where a mask they said. We don't want to wear a mask. And my wife says well then you can't shop here. And then the guy says well. We're never coming back and then I say thanks don't come back. And, so look I know this is playing out all around the country right now and. I know this for some reason. Masks have become a political issue I'm not exactly sure why I'm going to tell you a little nother story about that in a second. But on this one, our families decided to take a stand. Our families decided to listen to the Stanford. Doctors and other medical professionals who say wearing a mask makes a difference in addition to that. We're doing everything possible to make sure that the old people in our lives that we love don't get sick, and so in this case we refused service and we told them to stay away forever. Now. I had a somewhat similar situation. As it relates to me, personally I have been posting some stuff recently about masks, and in particular we had heard recently from a Stanford doctor that if the United States, if people in the United States wore a mask for about six weeks, we would get this thing contained. And when I was told that. I thought Oh. Why isn't anybody talking about that? It's doesn't seem to be out there very much, and so I posted on social media about this and the Post. I put up on linked in was viewed over thirty thousand times I couldn't believe it. Anyway. On, one of the social platforms I won't get into one of the specifics. Of people who were being? And saying you know masks for idiots and for she poll and you know this that and the other. One guy started to criticize me, and and this that and the other and and he just kind of came right happening and. I told him in no uncertain terms. If you don't like my posts. Defend me. Go F yourself. And so here's what's clear. By me, trying to help, spread the word that masks are good and viruses are bad. I have upset a bunch of people because for some reason in the United States of America, wearing a mask has become a political statement as opposed to as opposed to anything else. And if you don't want to listen to my podcast or you don't want, follow me on social media because I am trying to promote what Stanford doctors and now subsequent to post the CDC and others have come out, and said masks are GonNa make very big difference, and echoed the point that I had heard from this legendary Stanford Doc. Anyway, the bottom line is this if you don't like me or you don't WanNA listen to podcasts because I'm trying to promote wearing masks in the United States. That's okay. And so I think whatever the issue is. There comes a time in our lives as people and as business leaders where we have to A. be clear about our core values and be stand up for them. Now in addition I think this also goes for employees to. And got to two quick ones for you. On this one attacks Gio that I know was asked recently a all hands meeting, because if you're good tech CEO or frankly, if you're good CEO all, you're having regular communications with your people now for sure and this text. He was asked by some folks in the company whether or not the company was going to stop selling its technology to the US. Government and specifically to the military into law enforcement, because these folks thought that selling technology law enforcement in the military was a bad thing. And you could just tell this was a potential tinderbox. And this? CEO In my opinion, did something legendary, which is make it very clear. That, he believed that selling to the government legally. Is exactly what technology companies should do, and that's what his company is going to continue to do. And you ever noticed that sometimes the unspoken is louder than the spoken. And in this case after making this statement, the CEO the unspoken was very clear is, and if you don't like the fact that are going to sell our technology to our government and our law enforcement and our military, you can go work somewhere else. Now Look you may disagree with me about that. And that's okay I happen to agree with the CEO. I think it is unconscionable that American technology companies who, in a very real way get to exploit for their own profit technologies that were originally pioneered by the American government like the Internet, itself and many other information technology components. That then are created by the government and then commercialized by the private sector to then turn around and say we are not going to sell to our government. That makes me furious. That's just my opinion, so I happen to agree with the CEO, but whether you agree with me or not, the point is critical, which is even when it comes to your people. Sticking to your core values matters recently. We just saw Ford do this. Ford CEO Jim Hackett, in response to employees some employees starting to demand that Ford stop selling its police interceptor, which is the SUV they sell to police forces. He said they're not going to do that. He went further and said it's not controversial that the Ford police interceptor helps officers do their job and again. Did something very similar which is saying? We believe that selling cars to cops is a good thing and we're going to do it, and that is not connected. In any way shape or form cops, having great vehicles is not connected in any way shape or form to any reform that needs to happen in the United States in law enforcement. So where does that? Where does all this leave us? I think whether it's customers or employees or anyone. Now more than ever as individuals and as companies and brands, it's critical that we are clear about our core values, and most importantly that we lived them, you know the last company I was Cmo was called Mercury Interactive. We did not have our core values written down. They were there was no mission statement up on the wall. There were no six words are three words, four words, or whatever stating our core values up. OP painted on the wall. But Mercury more importantly than painting on the wall. Live them. Everybody could tell you what matter at that company. And everybody in the company knew they were empowered to live the core values and execute on those core values as employees of the company, and so I think we wanna be people and we WANNA build companies that are clearly tethered to a set of core values that are understood and ideally are clearly communicated to people. The only thing I would say is. You know there are some companies that will throw the customer under the bus when there's any kind of a dispute between customers and employees, this is one. I would caution you about. Remember that our people are the ones that serve our customers, and if we throw them under the bus, we are going to so bad seeds in our company, and so when there's a conflict when there's a disturbance dispute between an employee and a customer. this may be a controversial thing, but I would tilt towards the employees. First of all get the facts. And then be clear headed, get clear about your core values and check out what did the employees do? And what did the customer do and be very thoughtful about who stand with and who you stand against because if we're creating an environment where core values are clear, and we're trying to empower people to live our core values, and we tell our people that we trust them. We trust their judgment. And ask them to themselves in any situation whether it's with a colleague or a customer or anyone else. What would a legendary person do here? And sometimes the legendary per the legendary thing to do is to tell a customer to take their business elsewhere. The other thing I would share with you is remember the words of American author and philosopher Aldo Leopold who said ethical behavior is doing the right thing when no one else is watching. And of course, we increasingly live in a world where somebody's always watching what we're doing. And in the case of the Bernardus Lodge story I told you about with the racist. Really CEO That video was seen by over a million people, and so wherever we are in the world today there's probably somebody with a phone who can plus press record and capture us being a great person or racist asshole. All right I hope that's helpful. We would like to thank our friends at net sweet. 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That's good management, but I think it's great anyway. today's information is provided you solely for information serve as purposes remember to consult your lawyer, Chaman doctor and mother before acting on anything discussed in today's episode. We're produced an edited by living podcast legend Jason Filipo checkout his podcast, grumpy old Geeks, Seren, arts and Jamie J., D. Legendary technical execution and build lockhead dot com show notes by Diane Jovencio Remember Tom. Waits is right. Listen to Ashley McBride and the words. I'll leave you with. Today's come from Maya Angelou. WHO said without courage? We cannot practice any other virtue. Please stay healthy stay legendary, and until were together again. Follow your different.